Optimal nutrition while exercising
Carbohydrates, protein, nutrients, and vitamins – what does my body need with regular exercise? Correct nutrition with athletic activity is a key question that depends on various factors.
Anyone who exercises will sweat and lose fluids and minerals. Novices will sweat even more than experienced athletes. So refilling our fluid reservoir in a timely manner before physical activity is very important. Because we are already dehydrated once we start to feel thirsty, which has a negative effect on focus and coordination. Small sips every 10 to 20 minutes during training are also very valuable, especially if we actively exercise for more than 1 hour. The reservoirs of sodium, potassium, calcium, and even iodide and iron are best refilled with water (a sodium content of 200 mg / litre is ideal) and juice spritzers.
Apple and currant are ideal choices because they are very rich in electrolytes. But the body needs more than vitamins and nutrients. The German Association for Nutrition (DGE) recommends that 50 to 60 percent of the total energy requirement of hobby athletes should come from carbohydrates, a max. of 30 percent from fats and approx. 15 percent from protein. A good mix should therefore be on the menu, ideally of lean meat and fish, durum wheat pasta (al dente), Basmati or parboiled rice, diverse whole grain products, legumes, vegetables, fresh and dried fruit, and high-quality oils.
Muscles chiefly need glycogen to perform well, ideally from valuable carbohydrates. A meal rich in carbohydrates and low in fat, two to three hours before exercising is a good foundation. Fatty foods require a longer time to digest and tie up energies, which are ultimately not available for our muscles. Too much fat is also not recommended after the exercise: it delays the regeneration process.
So how is it with protein, which is so popular among athletes? With fish, meat, dairy products, eggs, and legumes we usually absorb plenty of protein, so that additional protein products are not required. 0.8 g of protein per kilogram of body weight should be consumed daily. With 1.2 g / kg, the average consumption in Germany, however, is already more than 50 percent higher. Low-fat protein and carbohydrate combos, e.g. potatoes with low-fat curd cheese are extremely healthy.
However, anyone wanting to reduce their weight by exercising should only consume moderate amounts of carbohydrates. Especially after exercising it would be better to do without pasta for one or two hours and instead to consume only liquids and electrolytes. During this time we can use the afterburn effect of our muscles to use up the body's own fat reservoirs. If the stomach rumbles too much, a small protein snack like yoghurt or curd cheese can help.
Speaking of snacks: The good old banana is still the best choice if performance deteriorates or if you are hungry on the go. Thanks to its complex carbohydrates it maintains the blood sugar level better than energy bars with lots of sugar and fat.